I'd like to introduce you to my inspiration for #13Heroes, and the reason I feel so passionately about this. My Dad.
This is what a real hero looks like. During World War II, for those who can appreciate this sort of thing, Dad was a tail gunner in the RAF. For those who may be less military-savvy, he was the last line of defense for a big, lumbering bomber. He sat alone, in a glass bubble under the tail of an enormous plane, the main target of German fighter planes, the bombers took a terrible toll on the enemy, and the enemy did not take that lightly. When all else failed, and a fighter was able to get in behind a bomber, with their superior speed and bristling with guns, my Dad was that guy they wanted dead immediately. He was the only thing left to stop them from bringing his plane and its crew down. Many bombers and their crews died horrible, flaming deaths. That's the bleak reality of war, not the sanitized movie depiction we've come to know and love.
When the world was under threat, my father and millions of men like him didn't say "I can't go against Hitler, it could ruin my career to oppose him". Only cowardly politicians can say "I can't go against Harper, it's useless" with a straight face. Or a grin, like the current, undignified crop of punks.
My father got in that bomber to preserve a way of life, a more caring and principled society. Eventually, the law of averages will get you and he was shot down. He survived. What would have happened at that point if he'd said "I was shot down, I'm afraid of Hitler"? I don't know, because my father, apparently, was not as cowardly as a conservative MP. I'll guarantee my dad wouldn't have cowered from the likes of Stephen Harper, schoolyard bully Prime Minister. He didn't quit, he got back into another bomber and let Hitler know he still wasn't afraid. Again with the law of averages, dad was shot down again. Obviously lucky for me, he survived yet again. Did he play cowardly conservative MP? Did he say "Now I've been shot down twice, I really need to fear Hitler"? No. He wasn't the type to say "Oh Mr. Harper, I fear you so I will never vote against you, no matter how wrong you are or how many people are hurt by you", no, you can bet John McCaw would never have uttered that kind of crap. He got back into another bomber and continued to fight until the end of the war. He was released with a chest full of medals, none so treasured as his Distinguished Flying Cross. He re-enlisted and served for several more years before immigrating to Canada to marry my mother. His injuries were such he became a paraplegic, and, as you can see above, died at age 44. My dad knew what a real hero was, he lived in the skin, as did, and do, many others. For now, those heroes are not conservative MP's.
In a way, my first 13 Heroes post brought me somehow closer to dad. As he sat, alone in a bubble, with a mission to stop his, and future generations, from a life under fascist rule. Here I sit, in my own metaphorical bubble, with a mission to stop Stephen Harper. A man I believe will do irreparable damage to Canada and Canadian citizens. Dad was one among many who did what he had to do, as will I.
I went to visit Dad's grave today. I don't do it often, I find it infinitely painful. Today I did, because it was important to me to go there and promise my Dad, my Hero, that I would never stop my fight to find 13 Heroes. Trust me. Even if I get shot down, I will get in another metaphorical bomber and continue to fight what I believe is a traitorous injustice that a small minded megalomanic wishes to rain down upon this generation, my daughter's generation, and everyone who comes after. Corporations do not come before people. My father was willing to put his life on it, why should I even begin to consider doing any less?
The support I've been shown buoys me, it allows me to ignore some of the foolish attacks that have been launched against me. The only thing I regret is my daughter is frightened for me. Since she learned from her father that paying attention to politics is important, she knows this government has allowed people to be shipped to third countries and tortured. She knows Stephen Harper is powerful and doesn't like those who oppose him. That he prefers to silence opposition. I've told her I must honour my father and all those who made similar sacrifices, even if they bundle me on a plane to some place where they'll be happy to extract my toenails with pliers. If they do, they do. There really is only one way to stop me, and that is to kill me. I am a very determined man.
I'm not being melodramatic. I'm not the overly emotional type. I want you to look at the picture below and really think about it. If you think this isn't exactly where C38 and the omnibus crime bill will take us, then come to me with fact and prove me wrong. Not name calling or ideology or rhetoric. Facts. Prove me wrong. What in that list is not happening or soon to happen in Canada?
I don't want to explain all the details of why I think it is so wrong to pretend to be passing a budget bill, when it includes dozens of other pieces of legislation that remove fisheries laws, remove environmental protection and oversight, penalize people who have difficulty finding work, create conditions where the citizens of Canada could oppose a project, where environmental studies show it could be disastrous, yet the cabinet (not government, just the cabinet) could grant approval to go ahead anyway. Gutting coast guard and search and rescue capabilities on both coasts...oh yes, allowing American authorities to ignore our sovereignty and operate on Canadian soil. Those are just a tiny fraction of the heinous laws they are trying to pass in the guise of a budget.
Don't just take my word for it. Educate yourself. Ask why the government has to keep invoking closure on debate, and moving committee meetings to private "in-camera" sessions. If this government had any intention of representing the needs of Canadians, they wouldn't be trying to hide it, they'd be bragging about it so often you'd know every intimate detail of bill C38. Most people just hear it referred to as a budget. It sure is. They hear that this budget has been debated longer than any other in history. Also deceivingly true. Beyond that, conservatives aren't trumpeting all the baggage that goes with it. It's like marrying a woman who fails to inform you beforehand she has 70 dependent children and other assorted relatives. Maybe they've debated the budget, but they haven't debated the legislative changes.
Add the omnibus crime bill with its Soviet-style all out warrantless internet spying and more severe sentences for some fool growing a few pot plants than for pedophiles.
I am going to urge conservative MP's to look at this bill. To look at the omnibus crime bill. Then come and look your constituents in the face and tell them you are going to vote against this bill C38 because you are not a coward. You aren't scared to do what is right. That you'll be remembered in history as taking a principled stand against something that is very, very wrong.
It makes no difference if you vote nay, abstain, cross the floor, but by whatever means possible, you must be more like my dad, fight for open democracy. You aren't going to die. You aren't going to have any problem being elected again and again, even if you run as an independent. The people who need #13Heroes will never let that happen. We will pledge to abandon our own party politics to support you in that seat. We will take care of you, hell, the book deals alone will take care of your families for the rest of your life.
Will we have cowards who don't dare stand up to their boss? Or #13Heroes?
Don't let up. Do everything you can to stop C38. Write your MP, call them, email them, show up at their office, attend protests, tell your friends and family, educate yourself before Canada as you know it no longer exists. You will have a Canada wholly owned by corporations and foreign nations, with no regard for the well being of the weakest of its citizens. A Canada hated by other countries, exactly like the US. Perhaps, just the gateway to Stephen Harper's secret desire to be president of the US. Why not merge, so he could be known as the "Most Powerful Man in the World". I put nothing past this man.
Please get involved, like these people today in Vancouver, and others all across this country, who just want Canada to be Canada. Who want at least the semblance of honesty. Who need 13 Heroes.
Thank you all for reading. Thank you for all the support. Thank you for taking action. Much love to all.
Thanks to Leadnow.ca for their fantastic network of people.
Now LET'S DO THIS! #13Heroes for CANADA!